I went to the comic shop the other day and seen this DVD seting on the new releases shelf. I had seen the OVA "Grappler Baki: The Ultamite Fighter" some time back on encore's action channel and liked it. I then read the manga from Raijin Comics and hated it. So despite mixed feelings about my love of the OVA and my hate for the manga, I decided to pony up the cash to buy this and give it atry out. I figured it wuld follow the same storyline of the manga, and suck ass but with better artwork. I was surprised to find that once again the anime out did the manga. Funimation dubs it and I must say that it is their best title out next to Fullmetal Alchemist. It's a new take on the old Baki story. Here's a description of it (that I copied 'cause i'm a lazy ass.):
Baki Hanma doesnâ€t need testosterone. Baki Hanma IS testosterone… bottled up in a 13 year old kid whose days and nights are driven by the desire to be strong, and a warriorâ€s pride to be the best grappler (underground martail arts fighter) in the world. Left by his parents to live and train alone, his wish is to grow up and be like his absentee father, Yuujiro Hamna, renowned as the strongest fighter in the world. Until then, heâ€s stuck fighting all the petty street thugs and mafia dogs who challenge him on the street. Not unsurprisingly, thereâ€s something more sinister happening in the background. Why are shady guys hiring thugs to attack Baki? Who is that person spying on all his fights? Why is his mom such a bizarre bimbo? Unknown. One thing's for sure though-Baki packs a surprising amount of heart and emotion in a rather unexpected way (another one up one the shitty story lacking manga). No, thereâ€s no bunny rabbits or love songs. What you get instead is a young boy whoâ€s been left with only one joy in his life, and thatâ€s fighting. Day in and day out, he dreams only of becoming strong, even if it means getting pummeled into unconsciousness by world class fighters. Back in 1994, CPM released an OVA called â€œGrappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighterâ€? that focused on a young manâ€s journey to the top of the Shinshinkai karate tournament bracket, but itâ€s a far cry from this TV series. In the OVA,Baki is a black headed kid with a Cindy Crawford type mole and scars covering his body. Though powerful, he never wanted to kill any of the opponents he fights with and he is kind and gentle outside of the ring. Baki is now a maniacal, butch yet a tad bishonen looking kid with red hair (ala Slam Dunk's Sakuargi) and the same Cindy Crawford mole whoâ€s packed with fire and dynamite. ZHe's rude and bullheaded and dosen't respect authority. His struggle comes from the heart and from a painful past, and for all the â€œWAH HUH Iâ€MA SERVE YOU UP A MANWICHâ€? mentality throughout the disc, itâ€s more about a tale of growing up and reaching your dreams than anything else. At least thatâ€s what it seems like so far. Itâ€s still a little too early to tell though; who knows, maybe itâ€ll be a fist fiesta the whole way through. For now though, keep an eye on this one. It may turn out to be quite the adventure. Shows like Hajime No Ippo and Yawara immediately come to mind, for more than just the obvious reason. Itâ€s the struggle of youngsters striving to be strong and dignified warriors like their role models that really make for a great story about the vitality of youth.
Synopsis of the Episodes on Volume 1 (SPOILERS!!):
Stirrings of Destiny
Feeling like his training to be the strongest fighter in the world is going nowhere, Baki Hanma quits his program believing that he is the only true coach he needs. But as his first step into his new world, he finds a fighter worth a challenge. He is unbeaten. But then, so is Baki.
Those Who Squirm
While dark forces align to plot the future for Baki, he continues to hold strong in his bout with Yuri Chakovsky, the welterweight world champion. But Baki isnâ€t trained well enough to hold his own, and it is a hard and painful lesson to learn: There is always someone bigger than you out there.
The Beast of Yasha Crag
Frustrated by his defeat in the ring to boxing champion Yuri, Baki decides to head to the mountains to train with his fatherâ€s former comrade, Andou. Upon arriving though, Baki realizes that the only way he can truly become stronger is by taking on the giant creature that lives in the forest... The Yasha Ape.
The Fang and the Tears
An arena of fire! Two opponents: Baki versus the Beast of Yasha Crag! Baki takes a leap of courage and faces his fear head-on, only to discover that the beast he seeks to defeat, is more powerful than he could ever have imagined. In this battle, the only thing for certain is bloodshed
By the looks of this anime, I'd expect it to somehow wind up on Adult Swim after some time. It's very awesome despite the shitty heritage it shares with it's manga counterpart. Anyone else seen this or have any thoughts?